This post is sponsored by State Farm®
My parents ran a group home for twenty years. It was for girls and women ages 12-18. I basically grew up there. I would head over after school and hang out during their community meetings and eat dinners there. Once I got to high school I started to assist the art teachers and eventually taught my own after-school arts and crafts classes. It was there that I got my first glimpse of how art can be an agent for change and healing–and it was also my first paying gig.
A few months ago I was approached by State Farm about their Neighborhood of Good™ campaign. State Farm noticed that among young adults, there seems to be a gap between intention and action when it comes making a positive difference in their communities. I think we can all relate to this. I know I can. It can be tough to make time to volunteer, and even once I do make time, it can be a challenge to figure out where to go, what to do, or where my own skill-set would be the most helpful. As part of their campaign they asked me to come up with a way that I would like to positively impact my own community this summer and I gave that a good long think.
First of all, what a dream come true — to have an opportunity to turn my own caring into action. I thought back to my parents’ group home and my experience teaching art there, and decided that it would be amazing if I could take all that I’ve learned in the last fifteen years of being an artist and business person, and pass on some of that knowledge to people in my community who were not given the same kinds of opportunities as I was. So I reached out to my friends at the RightWay Foundation. You may remember I did some work with them a couple of years back. Their mission is to “work with current or emancipated foster youth to move from a point of pain and disappointment to a point of power, productivity, and self-sufficiency.” They help foster youth and former foster youth with job training, job placement, housing, therapy, financial literacy, career counseling, and education. It’s a truly wonderful foundation run by a group of extraordinarily awesome and dedicated people.
With help from State Farm, my team and I designed a summer program for the RightWay Foundation. We will be teaching art and business/marketing to foster youth and former foster youth throughout the summer and the program will culminate in an art show that will showcase (and sell!) all of the art we create together (and you’re invited!).
Art and design are perceived as luxuries these days, not viable career options, especially for young people without family support. One of my goals for this course is to help change that, even in my own small way. We will be sharing all the details from the course here and on social including lesson plans. My hope is to proliferate this message. My hope is to help young artists turn their passions, talents and hard work into income. I don’t pretend that one summer program is going to change the entire course of someone’s life, but I do hope that I can plant a seed, and maybe help to nourish that seed too.
Stay tuned here for more updates on this program. I’m SO grateful to have been given this opportunity.